August 31, 2013

Savory Southwestern Oatmeal

I made this last weekend and loved it and I made it again this week for dinner when I couldn't figure out what else to make for myself at short notice (after staring at the pantry for a few minutes). Ever since I returned from my trip to India, I've been somewhat lazy and have been making either super quick meals or staring at the pantry for several minutes each night before deciding on what to make. This is another recipe that has been modified from one posted by The Oatmeal Artist and it's a definite keeper. 

Adapted from: The Oatmeal Artist: Savory Mexican Corn Oatmeal

Prep Time: 10 min

Ingredients (Serves 1):
  1. 1/2 cup Old-Fashioned (Rolled) Oats
  2. 1/4 Small Red Onion (diced)
  3. 1/2 cup Frozen Corn
  4. 1/4 cup Black beans, rinsed and drained
  5. 1 Medium Roma Tomato (diced)
  6. 1/2 tsp Cumin
  7. 1/2 tsp (Deggi) Red Chili powder
  8. 1 tbsp Lemon/lime juice
  9. 1 tsp Cilantro leaves, finely diced
  10. Salt and Pepper, to taste
  11. Hot Sauce, to taste (I used Cholula)

Mix Oats, cumin, a pinch of salt and 1/4 cup corn with 1/2 cup water in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 3 minutes, making sure to keep an eye on the bowl so that it doesn't overflow. Once the oats are done, remove from microwave, mix well and set aside. Line a sauce pan with water. On medium heat, saute onions in water until translucent. Add cumin, a pinch of salt, chili powder, the rest of the corn and mix well. Cook for a few minutes and then add black beans. Stir and simmer for a few minutes until beans are warmed up nicely along with the rest of the veggies. Remove from heat, mix with oats and corn, and lemon/lime juice (to taste). Transfer to a serving dish, top with fresh diced tomatoes and cilantro leaves. Serve with hot sauce.  Enjoy!!

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 301 (Fat Calories 38)
Total Fat 4.3 g; Carbohydrates 60.5 g; Fiber 10.7 g; Sugars 6.1 g; Protein 12.0 g

August 27, 2013

Home-made Applesauce

It is apple season in Ohio and our apple tree has given us quite the hall this year. This past weekend we harvested about a whole wheelbarrow full of apples and this only from the low-hanging branches. Even though li'l Coder used a ladder, he is all of 4 feet tall and didn't get much higher than I did. 

Anyhow, I gave away loaded grocery bags full of apples to at least 4 different families and I used a bunch myself. One of the things I made and set aside in the freezer was applesauce. 

Prep Time: 30 min (or so).

  1. 6 cups Apples, peeled, cored, quartered.
  2. 1 cup Water
  3. 2 tsp Cinnamon

In a non-stick pan, bring water to a boil and add apples. If you prefer, leaves the skins on. Since our apples were never sprayed or really taken care of, the skin on my apples was quite pockmarked and blemished so I removed it completely. 

Bring to a boil, cover and allow to simmer for 15-20 min until the apples begin to disintegrate. Mix frequently as the apples are cooking to prevent the bottom from sticking. Mix well with a rubber spatula to break down any large chunks. If the consistency is too thick, add more water until it achieves the right thickness. Always start with less water than you think you needed. Its hard to make something less-soupy!! Add cinnamon and mix well. 

If you're planning on eating it 'as is' add some brown sugar or maple syrup to taste. I'm planning on using it in Oatmeal and baking, so I didn't use any sugar. 

Freeze (or can) in several serving size containers, as appropriate for your household. I froze it in about 1/3 cup servings, one for each single serve Oatmeal recipe. Enjoy!!!

Uses for Applesauce:
  1. Baby food - a gentle wholesome food to wean a baby with.
  2. Adult food :) its excellent as a snack, warm or cold, and as a side dish. Ever try peanut butter and applesauce on toast? You'll eat it every day. Its a lot healthier than sugar-loaded jellies too.
  3. As an oil substitute and egg-substitute in baked goods (1 egg = 1/4 cup applesauce). Avoid using more than 1 cup/recipe. 
  4. As a natural fiber-filled sweetener in breakfast cereals, oatmeal etc. 
  5. As a sauce - combine sauteed onions, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce and light brown sugar and use it to smother pan-seared tofu or seitan (or pork chops, if you're an omnivore!). 

Southwestern, Pan-Seared Smothered Tofu

Some days I stand in my pantry for a few minutes searching for something to make for dinner. This, despite the fact that the pantry and freezer are pretty well stocked, except at the end of the week ;) !!! I definitely wasn't expecting this on a Tuesday evening. Anyhow ... it turned out Tony had not eaten his lunch and was going to eat his leftovers for dinner. He's not a big fan of tofu so I decided that this would be my main ingredient. The rest of the recipe just kind of evolved around it, as I gathered up various items from the pantry and refrigerator. 

Southwestern, Pan-Seared Smothered Tofu
Prep Time: 20 min

Ingredients (Serves 2):
  1. 1 x 14oz Pack of Firm or Extra-Firm Tofu (cut into 4-6 strips)
  2. 1 x 12 oz Pack of fresh White Mushrooms, stems removed and halved.
  3. 1/2 cup frozen yellow corn
  4. 1/2 cup cooked Black beans, drained.
  5. 2 tsp Taco Seasoning
  6. 2-4 tbsp BBQ Sauce (your favorite)
  7. 2-4 tbsp Salsa (your favorite)
  8. Hot Sauce (optional)
Heat a medium cast iron skillet to high heat (a drop of water should sizzle as soon as it is added to the skillet). Toss the mushrooms with a sprinkle of table salt and add to the heated skillet and dry roast for a few minutes until the mushrooms begin to darken. Remove mushrooms and set aside. Allow all the water released by the mushrooms to evaporate and the skillet to attain a nice uniform dry heat again. Move the mushrooms to the side and add each of the tofu slices directly onto the dry heated skillet. The tofu will sizzle immediately upon placing on the skillet. Do not move each piece for a couple of minutes. This allows a seared skin to form on the tofu which allows you to turn it without crumbling it. Sear the other side in a similar manner. 

Once each piece of tofu is well seared, add the mushrooms equally across the surface of the skillet, sprinkle taco seasoning over mushrooms and tofu, and then drizzle the salsa and BBQ sauce over the entire surface.  Next cover the tofu with black beans and corn, cover, reduce heat to medium low and allow everything to simmer for 5-7 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. Garnish with hot sauce and serve with fresh bread, or toast as I did. Enjoy!! 

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 458 (Fat Calories 85)
Total Fat 9.5 g; Carbohydrates 58.6 g; Fiber 11.5 g; Sugars 10.2 g; Protein 34.7 g

August 16, 2013

Very Berry Creamy Oatmeal

After having spent 2 weeks in India eating all kinds of 'cheat' foods, I was craving a good bowl of Oatmeal upon returning home. This morning I made a very cheerful looking bowl of porridge with a boatload of berries and all the nutrition and fiber and plant-based goodness I craved while travelling.

Very Berry Creamy Oatmeal

Prep Time: 5 min

Ingredients (serves 1):
  1. 1/2 cup Old-Fashioned (Rolled) Oats
  2. 1 cup Almond Milk
  3. 6 oz fresh Red Raspberries (1/2 pint) 
  4. 6 oz fresh Blueberries 
  5. 1 tbsp Chia Seeds
  6. 2 tsp Flax Seed Meal
  7. 1 tbsp Slivered Almonds
  8. 1 tbsp Brown Sugar (optional)
  9. A pinch of Coarse (Kosher or Sea) salt.
Mix Oats, chia seeds, flax seed meal and fresh raspberries with almond milk in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Once the oats are done, remove from microwave, mix well to mash the raspberries well (the oats will take on a nice pink color).  Mix in salt and brown sugar (optional). I didn't use any sugar because the berries made it sweet enough for my taste. Add almonds, mix well, transfer to a serving bowl, and top off with fresh blueberries. Enjoy!!

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving, without Brown Sugar): Calories 438 (Fat Calories 122)
Total Fat 13.6 g; Carbohydrates 71.2 g; Fiber 19.3 g; Sugars 23.1 g; Protein 14.2 g

August 1, 2013

Rugrat Chow on vacation!

So we're off on a transatlantic transcontinental vacation. I'll be posting lots of pictures - food, sights and all the excitement on our Facebook page - so make sure to find us on Facebook and stay tuned :)